The State of the Reader: 6/14/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/7/17          The State of the Reader: 6/21/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. Starglass by Phoebe North: Kept – I kept it, but I didn’t read that much of the sample.  Too many dead mom feels :\
  2. The Passage by Justin Cronin: Kept (RWTR) – I would’ve bought this had it not been so expensive.  Stories this immersive come along once in a blue moon, and the brief sample painted a picture I wish more people could understand: how poverty, domestic abuse, and lack of support utterly destroys lives.  Some people have no one to turn to when everything goes wrong, and they are driven to make undesirable choices when in reality there is none.
  3. Everlost by Neal Shusterman: Kept – I took it off my really-want-to-read list because the language is a bit juvenile, and I was expecting it to be more profound.  I think it’s more mid-grade than YA, so the author chose simpler language I suppose.
  4. Anomalies by Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman: Passed – Just rereading the blurb again told me this would have to blow me away with its prose for me to keep it.  It didn’t and the title makes me think it’s going to be in a similar vein to Divergent, which I was lukewarm on anyway, so this is going into my passed bin.
  5. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: Kept – The gentle writing in this reminded me of how the early 1900 were romanticized, not how they really are.  While that narrative isn’t true, there is still a beauty in the lie.
  6. Fire, Fury, Faith by N. D. Jones: Kept – There’s a dearth of paranormal romance that features people of color, so I like to support whenever I can.  Plus this is about angels, my favorite thing ever.
  7. Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia: Kept – The writing is lush and pretty, and there’s something endearing about the android main character Mattie.
  8. Among Others by Jo Walton: Kept – Though the blurb puts this book into the fantasy genre, what I’ve read so far could just be considered magical realism or even magical wishism.  Nothing particularly magical has happened or rather the supposed magical thing could be chalked up to coincidence.  The language of the writing and the fact the main character loves reading sci-fi has me intrigued.

Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: Gaslight Hades
Series Title: The Bonekeeper Chronicles
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Purchased: June 11, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.99
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 6/7/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/31/17          The State of the Reader: 6/14/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. The Names by Don DeLillo: Passed – I read White Noise by the same author in my postmodern literature class, and I loved it, but this one just didn’t catch me at all.
  2. All Fall Down by Christine Pope: Kept – I love the main character’s blunt, no-nonsense voice.  It works perfectly for her role.  I also love that she’s a doctor in a medieval fantasy setting, and she’s respected as such for the most part.  The only people who don’t respect her are the slaver’s who’ve captured her, obviously.  She makes it a point to say that her order values science so she’s not like the religious healers they compare her to.
  3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Kept – It didn’t strike me as hard as The Raven Boys, but Maggie Stiefvater still has this way about her writing that’s just so alluring.
  4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: Passed – I really wanted to like this one.  I talked myself into adding it after seeing it pop up in my newsfeed a few times.  I won’t say I should’ve just passed on it without giving it a try, because you never know, but the story just doesn’t grab me.
  5. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds: Kept – The mystery of what killed off this alien civilization almost a million years ago overrides my dislike of the main character.  He could just be driven, but if there’s something called a “razorstorm” coming your way, it seems logical that you’d want to get yourself and people out of there.  I’m also wondering if this is a Reaper like situation.
  6. Alive by Scott Sigler: Kept (RWTR) – Holy shit does this story drag you into a world of fear of confusion.  The main character starts off locked in a coffin, and she has to fight her way out.  She finds herself in a room with 11 other caskets and a plaque by hers with “M. Savage” on it, which is all she knows of her name.  I want to know what’s going on.
  7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Kept (RWTR) – If this hadn’t been so expensive, I would’ve bought it immediately.  The Archived in question are the dead, and the story starts out with two deaths and a whole bunch of secrets.
  8. The Crow Box by Nikki Rae: Kept/Purchased – I wasn’t as excited about this one as the above, but it was interesting and not that expensive.  The main character Corbin (which sounds a bit like corvus, the Latin word for crow) is plagued by a voice she doesn’t know is real or fake.  She worries about her mental health in seeing her mother’s struggles, and there’s a little poem in the beginning that suggests this is a kind of ghost story.

Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Saga, Volume 5
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 6, 2017
Date Purchased: June 6, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $7.35
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 5/31/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/24/17          The State of the Reader: 6/7/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmburg: Kept/Purchased – Interesting enough to warrant a read.  The main character wants to work with steel, but her teacher informs her they don’t have enough paper magicians, so that’s where she’s going to apprentice.  It’s making me think of this anime that I’ve never seen, but I know is about a character who can manipulate   paper.  Read or Die, I think that’s the name of it?  Since the book was cheap on Kindle, I also purchased it.  I can never tell whether or not the price is static or on sale.
  2. Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw: Passed – This is going to sound awful, and lord knows I understand how frustrating market saturation is, but I just don’t feel like reading a story where the main character is a young man with a fated destiny.  If the writing had pulled me in, I’d probably consider it, but it wasn’t really my style.
  3. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones: Kept – I liked the language/writing style, so me keeping this seems counter to what I said above, because this one seems like a “young man with a fated destiny” story, too, but the focus seems to be more on his more talented, witchy sister.
  4. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen: Kept – I’ve been only reading a page of two of my samples (unless they’re like Radiance and I can’t put it down) before I make my decision if I’m going to keep it, and this one about a talented young singer trying to live in the cold of her opera diva mother’s shadow seems worthy of my time.
  5. The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway: Kept – Again I only read a few pages of this, but I’ve read the author before under her other name Jan Siegel.  She wrote Prospero’s Children with that moniker, and I loved that series, so I’m sure I’ll find this novel more than adequate. Interesting…so I went to add the link for this, and I have the book on my TBR list twice: once under Jan Siegel and once under Amanda Hemingway.  Let me check Amazon to see what name she’s using…it’s under Hemingway so that’s what I’m going to keep.
  6. The Book of Earth by Marjorie B, Kellogg: Kept – The sleeping dragons keeping the balance instantly reminded me of Mother 3, though in that there was just one, but seven pins (or swords?) that you had to draw in order to awaken it.  I like the unconventional young noble lady, too, even though that’s a tried trope as well.
  7. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: Kept (RWTR) – This book is everything I could ask for.  Fairy enchantment in a world where iPods exist.  I love the blending of either genres or when genres take place in non-traditional time periods (most people think of sword and sorcery or high fantasy that generally occurs in some medieval era), and the fact that there’s a mother so bad ass she not only figured out her baby was a changeling, but refused to give the fae child back when the fairy woman returned her own.
  8. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow: Kept by Jessica Day George: Kept (RWTR) – I’d already had this on my really-want-to-read list.  I love stories about the dark, cold north (I mean my favorite story’s beginning and conclusion occurs in the north, and depending on how ASOIAF concludes, I may be double talking), and I love fairy tales.  This story does both.
  9. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst: Kept (RWTR) – I was surprised, but not upset to find this book takes place in more modern times where research teams are sent to the Arctic and snow mobiles exist.  Stories like this usually have the quality of disbelief for its characters in seeing magic happen before their eyes, so they share something with those who are reading the tale.  If this book and the prior had been less expensive, I would’ve bought them immediately.
  10. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau: Kept (RWTR) – This was one of those samples that only had a few pages, but I am beyond curious to know what’s going on with it.  It starts off with a prologue, which is always a risky move in any story, but it explains how 200 years ago, the builders of the eponymous city left instructions for the people, and they were supposed to be passed down through successive generations, held by the cities mayors, but one of the mayors was corrupted, took home the box the instructions were housed in, and tried to break it open with a hammer.  The sample stopped there, but I want to know why these builders said the people would have to say hidden for at least 200 years.  What the hell happened to the surface above?
  11. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon: Kept – Even though I’m worried this book might be a touch on the religious side (as in favoring one over the other), I’m still interested in what the daughter does with her mother’s gift.
  12. Adventure Begins by Colin Dann: Kept – So I actually downloaded a different book from the one I had on my TBR list.  I had The Animals of Farthing Wood there or something like that, but I think this one is the first in the series?  I’m not really sure, but since this is what I downloaded, and since it seems to be the first in a series, this is the one I’m going to keep.  Going by my rules of one author per book on my TBR list, I removed Animals for this.  The premise is interesting and definitely something I would’ve read in my younger days.  There’s a feud between the foxes and the otters, because the otters have encroached on the foxes’ hunting territory due to a shortage of fish in the stream.  This issue is further compounded by the fact that otters are rare in this part of England (?), so wherever they live has been declared a sanctuary by humans who won’t chop down and develop the wood due to their presence.  The otters know this and take advantage of it, so I’m curious how the foxes are going to resolve this dilemma.

Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Paper Magician
Series Title: The Paper Magician Trilogy
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Date Added: June 17, 2016
Date Purchased: May 25, 2017

Paper Magician, The

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $1.50
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 3/15/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/8/17          The State of the Reader: 3/22/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Finished This Week: 1

Title: Men of Greywater Station
Author: George R. R. Martin
Date Added: March 14, 2017
Date Started: March 14, 2017
Date Finished: March 14, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction

Media: Online
Publication Date: June 1976
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 29

I decided to read this yesterday after listening to Preston Jacobs’s review of another GRRM short story (which is why it was never on my TBR or Currently Reading lists), the name of which I can’t recall now.  Preston’s review of Greywater is right here though for the interested, and the link to the story itself is above (just click “Online”).  It was a quick read at only 29 pages.  There are also links to listen to the audio or read the short on Preston’s review, which is how I was able to do so.

I’m not going to write a review of it since I linked to Preston’s more than serviceable one, but I will say that I correctly guessed what was really going on.  I’m becoming used to the paradigms Martin uses.  Like most authors he falls into a pattern and recycles his own motifs.  I have absolutely no problem with this as a writer who does the same.  I truly believe that GRRM has already “given away” the ending of Song in his prior tales.  It’s just the matter of divining how to put the pieces together.  Martin is an extremely subtle writer, and he requires a bit of intelligence and introspection from his readers.  He’s not just going to give you the answer or lay the meaning bare.  Rather, he’s going to make you dig for it and question it even after you’re certain you know the truth (it reminds me of a certain game I love).

Speaking of which (symbolically), I’m almost certain that one of Dany’s dragons is going to be injured in a way to lose a wing, and I’m saying that because Martin has done this before.  Literally in The Ice Dragon and metaphorically in Windhaven (one of the parts is literally called “One-Wing”).  As mentioned above, Martin recycles motifs, and reading his short stories, you see similar paradigms as the ones in Song;: hive-minded, mind controlling entities, civilizations existing after some great cataclysm, portents from the sky that are actual spaceships/aliens, humans usurping the land from the original inhabitants, etc. (okay…this is not to beat a dead horse, but all of these things are also paradigms in FFVII.in some way.  The civilization after a cataclysm fits if you look at all of the games as on one timeline and remember what happened in FFVI.  That’s all I’m going to say about this for now, since the plans to write those essays are still go).  This is my only original prediction for Song’s seventh season (omg…).  All the other ones I prescribe to were created by righteous others.


Samples Read This Week: 5

  1. Chasing Embers (Ben Garston #1) by James Bennett: Kept – It starts off in a bar and introduces questions, issues, and a potential supernatural bar fight, which is enough to keep me interested.  Nor can I forget that I found this through one of Kim’s (or By Hook or By Book) reviews!
  2. Nemesis (Nemesis #1) by Anna Banks Kept – The main character’s name is Sepora who’s fleeing a father who wants to exploit her special abilities.  Huh.  This was another one I found due to Kim 🙂
  3. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry: Kept – This was recommended to me a while ago by the lovely writer of The Ink Garden.  The writing is lush and brilliant, and the opening chapter entices you into a world of secrets and intrigue.
  4. The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing) by R. Scott Bakker: Kept/RWTR – Not only did I keep this, I put it on my really-want-to-read bookshelf (RWTR).  The beginning is brutal in showcasing the realities of war, exile, and the diseases and depravities that almost always follow.  Raw and beautiful is one of my favorite styles of writing (it’s what I try to emulate).
  5. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: Kept/RWTR – Give me stories based on fairy tales any day of the week.  There’s also a Song parallel in the description of the character Frost as a “blue-eyed winter demon,” especially considering he’s the king of winter (common paradigms are common).  It’s odd though.  This is another story based on Vasilisa the Beautiful, the same as Vassa in the Night, which I didn’t finish.  The writing in Bear/Nightingale is so much more lush and atmospheric than Vassa.  Plus it’s not an urban fantasy or YA.

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